That’s Amore

On my last day in Florence, I climbed to the top of the Duomo. I had been outside of it nearly every single day (not an exaggeration), and attended Sunday mass there, but hadn’t gone into the dome. I bought my ticket, waited in line, and was then ushered into the cathedral. You walk first around the dome on a balcony that wraps around the inside of it, where you can see into the entire cathedral, at the pulpit and the altar, while you walk alongside the mural.

As you go along the duomo, you can see how high you are as you climb higher. Me and all of my fellow tourists single-filed our way through the narrowest passageways imaginable. There is some room for you to step off to the side, but otherwise, you need to keep walking since you have hundreds of people behind you trying to get to the top as well.

I was white-knuckling my way through the 463 step hike until I saw a flight of stairs that were so steep, it was practically a ladder. That was when I decided to stand off to the side to take a deep breath. This then led to countless people walking past me, asking me if I was okay, in various different accents.

I told you all that there was a skeleton in the Duomo’s mural

“Hey, are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine, I just needed to catch my breath.”

“Hey, are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine, I just needed to catch my breath.”

“Hey, are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine, I just needed to catch my breath.”

“Hey, are you okay?”


Funnily enough, it was very difficult to catch my breath, seeing as to how I had to repeat the same phrase every two seconds. Had I realized that this flight of stairs was the last one, I would have just soldiered on through it. 

I made it to the roof of the Duomo to see the most extraordinary view I’d ever seen. It’s hard to put into words what I was looking at, but it was breathtaking. You’re so close to the sky you feel like you’re almost in the clouds. 

It made my nausea, wobbly legs, and shortness of breath all worth it. 

I could see every place I’d been to in the city, except for the greatest landmark of the city, the place I’d been to everyday, because I was standing on top of it. I could see Santa Croce, the Basilica that I’d been to for class with a piazza I’d hung out at for a Christmas Market, the Ponte Vecchio where my grandmother had me buy some new earrings for myself, the River Arno, which I’ve walked along and sat on top of the wall once (don’t tell my parents), and the Ferris Wheel where I slipped and busted my ass about a week earlier.  

From there, I could see every place I’d been to during my three and a half month stay in Florence, which is not bad for a final day in Florence. I was the last one down of my group, taking in the inside of the Duomo one last time as I made my way back down. 

Despite all of the school work I still had to turn in, I decided to keep up the momentum of my final day by going to the Gucci Museum. After seeing classic artwork for weeks on end, seeing the wildness of the Gucci Museum was a fun and stark deviation. It was three floors of painted walls, minor assaults to the senses, featuring one of my favorite things of all time: fashion. It dealt more so with the art of the brand than the design of the outfits, but I still enjoyed the aesthetic. 

Afterwards, I climbed the Duomo Bell Tower while it rained, and had a similarly gorgeous view. I pictured myself as the heroine at the dramatic climax of my own adventure story, in the cold rain, stalking up a bell tower in a famous city. I made the trip up and down both structures, knowing that I’d be sore the next couple of days, but that I would be sitting down for eleven hours on my flight soon enough.

There were a few revelations that day, starting with the fact that I needed to workout. The second one had to do with my experiences in Italy, reviewing them all as a whole. 

I had a great time in Florence. It led to mild bodily harm when I couldn’t ice skate or climb that Duomo without getting winded, but that was probably nothing compared to the bodily harm that happened when I drank. 

I don’t want to view this trip like a white woman eat-pray-loving my way across Italy, riding a vespa, sipping wine and gorging on pasta, the very definition of the phrase “not a care in the world.” It wasn’t all just about wine and pasta (although, I did eat so much really good food, most of which I photographed. I’m not proud of myself, but my phone eats first).

I learned a lot, mostly when it comes to speaking Italian. It should be obvious by now that I didn’t become a fluent Italian-speaker, but I’ve come so much further than I ever was before and I am now determined to finish what I started. With any luck, I’ll be rolling my “r’s” with ease in no time at all. 

I perhaps did not leave the house as much as my host mother expected me to, but I did what I wanted to when I wanted to do it. I went to every landmark on my list and tooled around Florence, sometimes just walking around town when I just wanted to be out and about. By the end of the trip, I was finally ready to go home. I missed my friends, family, and school, although I’m sure my love for school will quickly subside once I’m in the full swing of my final semester and my senioritis takes full effect.

I feel as though I’ve matured exponentially, having gotten out into the world.

So thank you Florence. I shopped at your vintage clothing stores, attended your art classes, enjoyed your wine tastings, and improved my Italian, thereby vastly bettering my wardrobe, palette, and art and language skills. 

It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

The Tragic Queen,


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